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August 31, 2005

Katrina's Real Name: Global Warming

Ross Gelbspan had a good editorial, titled Katrina's Real Name, in the Boston Globe day before yesterday, connecting the dots between Katrina and global warming. 

THE HURRICANE that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming.

As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more-intense downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms.

Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.

The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial enterprises in history.


Posted by Jon Stahl on August 31, 2005 at 10:00 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink


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"To allow the climate to stabilize requires humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent."

Which geologic era of history has been the "stable" weather on the earth? How do humans know which geologic era had the "normal" weather?

Posted by: FreeRangeAuthor | Aug 31, 2005 11:05:41 PM

Wonder how much the coal industry has contributed to President Bush's campaigns to keep him in denial about global warning?


Posted by: Bill | Sep 2, 2005 6:45:01 AM

True, journalist never quite get the technical details right, but he did get the idea. The global average temperature has always been sinusoidal. That is why we have ice ages every so often and at other times the fossil record shows that most of the earth was a tropical paradise. The problem with what is happening now is that the cycle is going off course. We are getting too hot, too fast. Instead of a sinusoidal curve we are seeing a increasing parabolic curve. If you remember your high school math classes then you should be able to see the problem here.

Ice ages happen about 20,000 years after a interglacial warming period. Interglacial warming periods happen every 100,000 years (at-least the last 8 or so have.) Now it has been 18,000 years since the glaciers started their current retreat. We shouldn't be hitting the warm peak for another 60,000 years.

In the last 100 years the average temperature of the earth has risen 1 degree F. At this rate we are only about 500 years away from hitting that "peak" heat point. See the problem? The Earth's ecosystems are not able to change that fast. We are causing our own mass extinction on par to some of the most significant geologic periods in history (geologic periods are tracked by mass extinctions.)

So the article had the general idea right. We keep doing what we are doing and the winters get colder, the summers get hotter, the ice caps melt, the coast lines rise, the storms get worse, the rain forests die, and we are left struggling to survive the aftermath. Yea for us!

Posted by: Tom | Sep 2, 2005 7:02:06 AM

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